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Writing fiction is a fun craft. It allows you to create anything you want. Anything, capital A, no restrictions.

Writing fiction for money is a demanding craft. It allows you to create anything you want, and then you have to justify why it’s there and how it interacts with the rest of your world.

The best advice on this I’ve ever heard is from a Writing Excuses worldbuilding episode with Mary Robinette Kowal (if you haven’t listened to Writing Excuses, and are in the least interested in writing or reading science fiction and fantasy, you should check out Writing Excuses, it’s worth it [/shameless fanboy pitch]).

There are three things that have been really fabulous tools for me when dealing with new magic or new technology in a world: that I should look at how that magic or technology affects the poorest class, how it affects the richest class, and how it can be abused.

The rich, the poor and the abused. Doesn’t have much to do with designing games, right? (more…)